The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside story concerning the murder of common sense in Edinburgh


A   STRANGE   and   WONDERFUL   ACCOUNT   of   an


Committed in the Canongate of EDINBURGH,   on MONDAY,   March   15th, by


On   the PERSON of


ALL civilized Sates, all Modes of Religion, in every Age, have pro-
nounced deliberate Murder as the most atrocious Crime human Na-
ture is capable of; a Crime of more general Importance than any other ;
therefore claiming a peculiar Vengeance.    In this detestable Light, the
Fact hereafter related must appear.

In Crimes of this Nature, Circumstances carry great Weight ; on which
Evidence alone, JAMES SCOOGY, the Perpetrator this dark Deed,
might jnstly be declared Guilty, as an established hatred to the Deceased
has appeared in all his Actions: However, the Fact is rendered incontest-
able, by the following extraordinary and supernatural Revelation.

Passing thro' the Canongate on Friday Night, betwixt the Hours of
Twelve and One, I was accosted near the Entrance to the Theatre by a
Female Figure, whom I endeavoured to avoid, supposing her to be one
of the Priestesses of Venus looking out for Proselytes ; but upon a near
Approach, by the Assisstance of the Moon, and an unusual Tremor that
came upon me, I perceived the Object to be no other than what in vulgar
Phrase is stiled a Ghost. I was struck at so new and unexpected a Sight
with Fear and Awe; I started and would have retired, but was prevent-
ed, and at the same Time, was addressed by the Shade, as follows:

" Mortal, fear not, thou art free from Danger; I am the Spirit of Com-
mon Sense come to sollicit your laterposition for Revenge upon the Assassin,
who last Night most cruelly put an End to my corporeal Existence."

Having summoned Resolucion to enquire the Particulars and promise my
Assistance, the unhappy Lady proceeded in the following Manner :

" Know, Mortal, that JAMES SCOOGY, to whom I owe my Death,
some Years ago sollicited Favours from me, which he could never ob-
tain, tho' he has always boasted of my kind Influence, in Common with
that of other Females, whom he never knew, or but very slightly. Hav-
ing always shunned, and frequently exposed him, he conceived an
irreconcilable Hatred to me, as is plainly manisested by all his Actions. I
have had many narrow Escapes from his Rage, and have been often greiv-
ously wounded by him ; at length the fatal Hour arrived, when I was
to become the Monster's Prey. Last Night, as I was returning from a
Visit, paid to my younger Sister Prudence, just at this Place my mortal
Foe rushed out upon me, dragged me forcibly into an Area, which I
perceived to be that of the Theatre; and here called out upon one of
his Vassals, who sometimes appears in the Shape of a Dragon, to open
his Castle Gate, and assist him to force me in. Vain were my Cries and
Supplications; they could not touch his murdrrous Heart; he meditated
not only my Destruction, but also the most excruciating Tortures. For
this Purpose he loaded me with Tragedy Chains, and mounting me upon
one of Bays's Horses, worse to me than the Brazen Bull of Phalaris,
ordered me to ride for his Amusement. After this he undertook to Pan-
tomiue in the Character of a Monkey, and obliged me to personate a Clown,
then viewing me with malicious Joy, Wretch, says he, I know you have
a natural Affection for Theatres, therefore have chose one for the Place
of your Death ; one, from whence, to the utmost of my Power, I have
banished you.-----Think on my Darling Or-------n of China;   think of
the Co----s ; think of Harlequin Restored ; all sacrificed to your Malice:
But my Revenge is come ; thou shalt die : But I will first convince thee
that should I condescend to grace the Stage,, a thousand G-----cks must
be immediately eclipsed. Here he spouted various Passages, till the Tor-
ture grew almost beyond bearing. I implored some Pity in the Name of
Common Honesty, Common Humanity, Who are they, replied he ? I never
had any Acquaintance with either of them. How long he might have
continued my Torture I know not, had not his faithful Dragon warned
him of an approaching Dun. This hurried on my Fate; he snatched up a
Harlequin Sword and instantly dispatched me; observing that he hoped
by my Death to reduce public Criticism to the Standard of his Opinion:
But the Caitiff here is disappointed ; for I this night appeared to my elder
Sister, Judgment, who has promised to have a sharp and severe Eye upon
whatever this Enemy to our Family may produce, not withstanding that
pert and peremptory Dame, Fashion should chance for a short Time to be
of his Side."

Here, the Cock crowing, the Shade vanished and left me, wrapped
in Wonder and what I had seen and heard ! A Mode of discovery as extra-
ordinary as the Crime revealed, which according to promise, I thus Pro-
mulge, and hope the Assassin, as he is well known, may be speedily brought
to the Bar of Justice.                                                       HUMANUS.

previous pageprevious          
Probable date published: 1765-   shelfmark: APS.4.87.49
Broadside story concerning the murder of common sense in Edinburgh
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland